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Cloud Security: Article

An Approach to Risk Mitigation

In The Boardroom with...Mr. Anil Katarki, CISO, HP Enterprise Services, U.S. Public Sector

Anil Katarki is Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) for HP Enterprise Services (ES) U.S. Public Sector. In this role, he leads a team of IT Security Compliance, Governance and Risk Management professionals that are responsible for securing HP's capabilities and offerings within the U.S. government market sector. Prior to this role, he served as the CISO for HP's, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) business. In that role, he was responsible for IT Security Operations at the DHS Data Center. He is a 15-year veteran of EDS and now HP, and have held various other security-related roles during my time with the company.

SecuritySolutionsWatch.com: Thank you for joining us today, Anil. It is truly a privilege to chat with the CISO for the world's largest technology company. Before drilling down into your perspectives on today's most important cybersecurity trends, please tell us a little about your background and your role at HP.

Anil Katarki: First, let me begin by saying thank you for the opportunity to sit down and chat with you today. I currently serve as the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) for HP Enterprise Services (ES) U.S. Public Sector. In this role, I lead a team of IT Security Compliance, Governance and Risk Management professionals that are responsible for securing HP's capabilities and offerings within the U.S. government market sector. Prior to this role, I served as the CISO for HP's, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) business. In that role, I was responsible for IT Security Operations at the DHS Data Center. I'm a 15-year veteran of EDS and now HP, and have held various other security-related roles during my time with the company.

SecuritySolutionsWatch.com: We read the headlines every day and cybersecurity attacks and breaches appear to occur regularly, initiated by well-organized foreign countries and sophisticated bad guys; to the effects of natural disasters impacting networks. From your perspective, what are three or four of the most critical cybersecurity trends your customers are facing in this extremely challenging environment?

Anil Katarki: Perpetual preparedness is tough to maintain. Vulnerability management tends to be an overwhelming task because of the growing number of devices and continual stream of warnings, alerts and notifications - whether it is security patches or zero day exploits, you name it. Mapping how these affect our critical systems and establishing remediation plans is daunting. For this reason, I believe we will see more and more CISOs focused on shrinking the attack surface in order to better deal with this challenge.

In order to assist some of our customers with this very challenge, HP operates and maintains enterprise data centers for some very high-profile government clients and we have to be flexible, scalable and implement security in such a way, that it does not interfere with growth initiatives. Providing security management and visibility across physical, virtual, and especially cloud environments - where control and accountability are difficult to manage, is a real challenge. Throughout 2014, I see more efforts being expended on enforcing control and accountability in cloud-based environments.

Additionally, there is so much Personally Identifiable Information (PII) data being collected today, but nobody has an accurate inventory of where this PII is located, transmitted, or stored. Regulatory compliance requirements such as the Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act (HIPAA) Omnibus rule or the HIPAA privacy rule will continue to hold service providers more accountable with stiff penalties for noncompliance.

SecuritySolutionsWatch.com: Can you please provide us an overview of the HP solutions your team brings to market designed to address these issues customers are facing?

Anil Katarki: HP has several solutions currently deployed which are designed to address our customers' issues at hand and we proactively continually explore new ideas to address needs we foresee within the marketplace. One such example of our security innovation involves the evolution of Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) technology. As you are aware, HP is the leader in this space with our ArcSight suite of products. Within U.S. Public Sector we have developed an entire offering around ArcSight, called SIEM as a Service, which is centrally managed from our Cyber Defense Alert Center. It is a tiered service offering, allowing customers to choose everything from basic log collection and retention to 24x7x365 monitoring, reporting and incident response.

Additionally, HP is also one of the first Commercial Service Provider's to receive a FedRAMP (SM) JAB authorization which highlights our commitment to delivering secure converged cloud to our public sector clients. We also recently received a contract award with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for their Continuous Diagnostics Mitigation (CMD) Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA). I am particularly excited about the HP Continuous Monitoring (CM) solution designed to provide clients with actionable intelligence regarding their current enterprise risk posture, and look forward to exploring the feasibility of offering CM as a Service in the future to help offset IT capital expenditures.

SecuritySolutionsWatch.com: Your colleague, Navy Rear Adm. (Ret.) Elizabeth A. Hight, was quite candid in sharing previously with us that "Defending everything is, for all practical purposes, impossible in today's globally interconnected and networked world" and that "It only takes one- a single email with an embedded virus or worm; one lone instance of unauthorized network access; a solitary line of unsecure code buried deep within an application; an individual loss of a laptop or mobile device with unencrypted data.... to launch a damaging cybersecurity attack". How should an organization go about determining what they really need to protect - -in other words, to minimize their "pain points"?

Anil Katarki: My colleague, Ret. Admiral Hight, is absolutely correct. In order to fully protect our networks and systems, enterprises have to get security right 100 percent of the time, while our adversaries need to only get it right only one time before they can cause substantial damage. This makes the task of defending mission-critical assets daunting.

Most enterprises today don't have the luxury of an infinite IT security budget. Therefore, expenditures must be viewed from a business standpoint - calculating the return on investment for the dollars spent. At HP for instance, the majority of IT security funds are spent implementing security controls to protect what I consider our crown jewels - things like our financial systems or our general support systems. However, at the end of the day, it is about adopting an approach for risk mitigation, focusing efforts on high-value and likely targets for attacks, in order to best minimize against potential damage.

Another key element of the HP strategy to combat adversaries is our employees. The more security conscious our employees are the better off we are. HP invests heavily in conducting security training and awareness campaigns targeted on educating internal employees on the threats seen in the marketplace- how to identify and mitigate occurrences. That said, we could implement the best technology to guard us against all threats, but if your employees are not diligent, proactive and vigilant, then one attack is all it takes to gain access to sensitive information, damage networks and systems, and hurt your industry reputation.

SecuritySolutionsWatch.com: We understand that you recently participated at the McAfee FOCUS 13 Annual Security Conference. Care to provide an overview of the key topics and discussion points reviewed by your panel of experts?

Anil Katarki: As you noted, I participated in a panel discussion at this year's FOCUS Security Conference. The discussion was largely focused around how real-time threat monitoring can improve enterprise security posture and compliance proactively, while also reducing operating costs. The panel dove into how Continuous Monitoring specifically addressed the challenges customer's face today of detecting configuration drifts and vulnerabilities that may increase their exposure to attack - and how inherent security challenges, such as BYOD, may hamper agencies from achieving effective CM goals and the steps that agencies can take to ensure that all devices are detected and protected.

SecuritySolutionsWatch.com: On the subject of "real-time" cybersecurity situational awareness, it sounds good on paper; but, is there really such a thing?

Anil Katarki: We keep collecting data for an expanding set of events. SIEM tools today are able to conduct sophisticated correlations and analytics to help characterize attacks, identify targets, and deploy countermeasures. Vendors are building more and more intelligence into their tools and will be successful in integrating the context with alternative sources of intelligence and data exchange, to produce faster notification which will inch us closer to the "real-time" awareness goal. Now the real question is what we do with that real-time awareness data. Unless we start empowering critical front-line staff to make timely decisions and react quickly to these findings, we have only solved half of the security problem.

SecuritySolutionsWatch.com: If we can take a moment, I'd like to talk about "mobility" and the unique challenges it presents. There are so many devices today and even more devices under development. What are your thoughts regarding "best-practices" for organizations implementing mobile initiatives, given that it "only takes one" security incident to disrupt business.

Anil Katarki: Most enterprises permit employees to use their own device to access organizational resources, but a large number of them don't manage those devices. Social platforms are being adopted for business purposes. The challenge is how do you differentiate and restrict access for business, from that of personal use. It will ultimately be up to each entity to make a decision based on their risk appetite. Organizations will have to put in place security policy management for mobile devices to ensure basic protections. such as the enforcement of passwords, blocking jail-broken devices, encrypting or sandboxing sensitive data, and wiping all business content when a device is lost or stolen, prior to authorizing mobile devices to connect to organizational resources.

SecuritySolutionsWatch.com: Thank you again for joining us today, Anil. Are there any other subjects you would like to discuss?

Anil Katarki: In closing, it was an absolute pleasure to sit down and chat with you today. Your questions were certainly thought-provoking and highlight the challenges that HP and the rest of the industry face today. Our adversaries are more sophisticated and determined than ever before and the stakes are high. There is a lot of focus and talk today on Big Data, Enterprise Cloud Services, BYOD and their associated vulnerabilities, but how often do you hear about an enterprise being compromised because of these technologies? The vast majority of the breaches still occur because an employee clicked on a malicious link embedded within an email, or a server was compromised because it was not properly patched or did not have an AV agent, or even a privileged account was compromised because the password was shared between multiple administrators. On that note, I would like to leave you with the thought that we all must adhere to the basic block-and-tackles. If we keep getting the basics right, we can prevent a vast majority of the threats we face each day.

This interview originally appeared in SecuritySolutionsWatch.com. Republished with permission.

More Stories By Liz McMillan

News Desk compiles and publishes breaking news stories, press releases and latest news articles as they happen.

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